I really enjoyed this novel. It was an awesome conclusion to all of the fantastic storytelling and great characters Hugh Howey has given us with Wool and Shift. It was all over far earlier than I would have liked it to be, but then I was dreading finishing this book even as I started the first chapter. It probably went by so fast too because I was enjoying it so much. I didn't want the Silo Saga to end because I have had such a great experience surviving with its characters for some time now. Wool is still my favorite but I enjoyed reading Dust much more than Shift. While shift did a great job of revealing to me how this crazy world came into being Dust returned to having more dramatic and exciting things happen in the story like Wool. There were a lot of scenes that were very gripping and kept me glued to my iPod to hear each and every new word.
I won't give anything away but I will say when I read the ending I was so happy to be with those characters in that historical moment for them and for their world. It was really moving and I was smiling the whole time I read it. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for every character though, and I really enjoyed seeing characters I have come to love go through more intense and trying situations.
I felt that Hugh did a good job of ending his series and keeping a good balance with all of the characters and silos in the story. By the time you're reading this book there are many characters and silos Hugh had to juggle to finish out his awesome saga. It didn't feel like that though. Yes there was a log of switching between silos and characters, but everytime the viewpoint character or setting switch I was just instantly right with them or right there that it never felt like a big back and forth. It just felt like one cohesive and awesome story. I highly recommend this book. I loved it.
This book was an awesome adventure. A series of events unfolded that took me to strange places where I got to meet some very interesting characters. The main character Jim is on his way to see his family when his ship crashes onto a lonely planet. No one is there to accompany him, but as he begins to look for a way to survive he meets some strange creatures.
I really liked the way Beshears described the landscape and the way he painted an image of the two suns of the planet in detail. It was some great writing. You don't get bogged down in the details though; they just enrich the story which is one great adventure. It starts a little slow but in a good way that helps you feel the way the main character does. He is desperate and lost on an alien planet just trying to survive by finding food and shelter.
There were some superb similes used in this book, and I love a good simile. I remember two tunnels next to each other being described as black empty eye sockets. That was a great and creepy image that added to the tension of the scene. Just the touch you needed as a reader to get you feeling the way the character was. The author does a good job building the atmosphere of the strange world the characters explorer. The alien creatures were described in a way that made them easy to picture and somewhat terrifying. Much different than anything we know here on Earth.
The last thing I'll hit on is that I listened to the audiobook version of this story. It was well produced. The narrator Benjamin Isaac Armstrong has a pleasant deep voice. He speaks clearly and his voice is easy to follow and understand. That is what's most important in an audiobook. Now here's where I'll get nitpicky. For my tastes I found his style a bit hard to get into. He over enunciates words in my opinion and his reading was a bit flat missing that dramatic sing song rhythm I've come to love from other narrators. That said he did a great job and if you go check out the sample I'm sure you'll love his voice. I'm probably just a bit of an audiobook snob being an avid longtime listener and a narrator myself.
Whether in paper, eBook, or audiobook you'll enjoy the adventure with Jim and his interesting companions and adversaries.
This was a cool book. Jason Gurley is a good writer. The ideas in this book are awesome. You will probably really like this book. So why did I give the story 3/5 stars?
The narrative of the book felt disjointed to me. It was like reading a bunch of short stories that all took place in the same story world, and then parts of those short stories were broken up and shuffled around with other parts from other short stories. You might love the author's approach, but I found it hard to get to know the characters when the story would shift so often to another set of characters. Like I said the ideas in this book are really cool and actually sucked me right in from the start. When I read the first few chapters of this book I was hooked right away. Then I was forced to hop around between different narratives and I just kept waiting for them to become more connected by the end. I think if this book was simply reorganized a bit by shifting parts of the story around so they're more connected I would have given it 4/5 stars.
I get that this novel tackles a huge idea of people having to leave earth which calls for maybe more than one narrative, but I would have much preferred the stories to be more connected by the end of the book. The stories themselves were good and I enjoyed them, I just kept wondering why the author suddenly switched to a different set of characters. I never felt grounded in the story.
All that to say you might love the way this book was written, and Gurley is a talented writer. He has cool ideas and writes well. Maybe it's just me. A lot of people loved the book World War Z which has several accounts of different characters dealing with a huge event and that book didn't appeal to me either. I'm thinking this is more of a personal preference of storytelling style than that this book isn't a great read. For me it was at times a good read, but overall I felt like I was getting thrown all over the place as a reader.
So before I end this review I have to mention the audiobook. Listening to it is how I read the book. Maria Hunter Welles did an amazing job narrating the novel. She came up with great voices for the different characters and did a fantastic job delivering the lines of dialog. Her voice is just so genuine even while reading the narrator lines that you feel like she's sitting across from you at the bar telling you a great story. She's a real talent and I would jump at the chance to listen to another audiobook she has narrated. I think her performance made this book one I enjoyed much more than I would have if I were reading it in paperback or eBook format.
I'll end by saying that I would read another book by Jason Gurley. When he was focused on one set of characters for an extended part of the story he did a great job. It looks like he's written a lot of books too so I'm sure another one of his titles will find it's way onto my phone from either the Kindle store or as an audiobook from Audible.
This novel is book 1 in the The Thrawn Trilogy and part of the expanded Star Wars universe. Part of the reason I decided to read this book is the fact that the new Star Wars movie, Episode VII is coming out next year thanks to Disney buying Lusas Film. It made me curious just what happened to the film characters in the novels all this time. Now when I watch the films I'll be able to pick up on any little Easter eggs they might throw in for fans of the Star Wars novelizations that have kept the story going in the absence of movies all these years. It's probably not likely they'll use anything from the novels as they've said they're only going to use the movies as cannon moving forward, but I was still really curious. I'm really glad I decided to give this book a read, and that I chose to consume it via audiobook.
The author Timothy Zahn does a tremendous job with some of the most beloved characters known to science fiction fans. Honestly I was a little hesitant to read this book because I have concrete ideas about who all of the Star Wars characters are. How they react to situations, the way they talk, the way they interact with others. They all felt very much like the characters I have come to love from the original Star Wars trilogy. Zahn also did a fantastic job developing some new characters that played a major role in this book. Of course there is Grand Admiral Thrawn, who the trilogy is named after. Zahn does a remarkable job of having this character come across as a terrifying individual. Someone who is calm and calculating in the face of cataclysmic events. A person with enormous powers of reasoning and deduction. Someone whose determination to see his plans come to fruition is unshakable no matter what setbacks may occur. Thrawn is a villain I loved to hate and someone who came off as impressive, incredibly capable, and scary to me. Any story is much better when the bad guy your heroes face is an extremely formidable foe that sends chills down your spine. A person you would never want to meet in real life, even if you were on their side. I really enjoyed the character development of Grand Admiral Thrawn in this book and I look forward to seeing him in action again when I read the next book.
Another great character was a man named Talon Karrde. You hear rumors about him for a while before you meet him. Before he appears in a scene you have a sort of reverence for him and his reputation precedes him. When you get to see him in action he lives up to all the hype. I loved Karrde's interaction with some of my favorite characters.
All the favorites are in this book. R2-D2, C-3PO, Leia, Han, Lando Calrissian, Luke, Wedge Antilles, Admiral Ackbar, and of course Chewbacca who's home world you get to visit!
The courage and bravery of the good guys in this book was exciting to read. There were a lot of slow scenes where big parts were moving and a lot of exhilarating action scenes. This book has a lot. I can think of intimate scenes where you get to see what it's like for Luke and Leia to use the force. There quiet scenes between characters where not much is happening but a lot is going on emotionally and internally. This novel had to be done this well because it handles some of the most loved characters of all time in a universe that fans around the world are crazy about. Timothy Zahn more than pulled it off. I'm so excited there are two more books! And that I will get to watch new Star Wars movies in the theaters with my kids! Woo-hoo! Sorry that has nothing to do with this book, but I'm just excited!
Last but not least, I can't end this review without touching on how fantastic the audiobook version is. I listened to the 20th Anniversary Edition narrated by Marc Thompson. Marc's ability to voice all the characters so well was nothing short of brilliant. The guy does all the voices spot on and there are a lot of characters in this book. Major props to him from one newbie inexperienced audiobook narrator to veteran pro. I can't stress how good of a job Marc Thompson did narrating this book. He makes this audiobook come alive as a sort of audio play but all acted out by one man with a thousand voices. His versatility as a narrator is something you just can't miss.
This audiobook also had much more production than any other professional audiobook I have heard. There were always complex weavings of sounds making up the background atmosphere of the scenes. You always knew if the characters where at a space port, on a ship, or deep in a forest. From massive epic space battles, to quick action scenes with intense fighting to quiet moments where hearing R2-D2's emotive beeps to Luke make you feel like you're right there in the Star Wars universe. This audiobook is easily one of the most entertaining listens I have ever experienced. I can't wait to listen to the next book in the Thrawn Trilogy.
I really enjoyed this novel. I love police procedural stories and this book had some of that but it was a little different because the main character is a retired detective. If anything that just made it more interesting. As usual, with a Stephen King novel, the characters were fantastically rendered and felt like acquaintances from real life by the time I was a few chapters in. One thing that made this book so cool was how different all the characters were from each other. Seeing people from opposite sides of the spectrum work together to solve a case was really cool. I won't elaborate so I don't spoil the story, but the makeup of the characters was really interesting and watching the ways they interacted really added a level of intrigue to the story.
The antagonist, or bad guy, in this novel was chilling. When you read his inner monologue you're glad you're not on the other end of his diabolical plans. He's scary because in his day to day interactions with people he's just a banal guy you wouldn't have a reason to remember. Then when he goes home at night, where he still lives with his mother, he makes plans. He and his mother have a relationship that was revolting to me. I'm sure this added to my discust towards this character. He's one of those bad guys you love to hate. Just as you're rooting for the good guys, you're rooting for the antagonist to get what's coming to him.
The romance in this book came off to me as authentic and original. It was between two somewhat unlikely characters. It adds a bit of joy to this fairly dark noir tale.
Without spoiling anything I will say that before the book is over not all of the important characters make it out alive. King pulls no punches here and the character's death does a nice job of making you that much more anxious more characters will die later in the story when the conflict and danger gets turned up a notch.
I've read a handful of King's older novels, many of the ones considered to be classics. I know to some people his writing suffered for many years as he struggled with alcohol and substance abuse. I'm here to tell you that every new Stephen King book I read is fantastic. He's back and I'm so glad he's still cranking them out. I've loved all of his new novels and the same holds true with this one.
The last thing I'll mention is that I listened to the audiobook version of this novel. It's narrated by Will Patton who is a phenomenal voice talent. I first heard him narrate when I listened to Doctor Sleep which is the sequel to The Shining. Patton really brought that book to life. I think he was a great pick for this book too because his voice is perfect for the main character who is a retired detective. He has that authentic gruff voice that really fit the protagonist. He delivers the book with such a great conversational read that you get pulled in right away. He's a great actor too, delivering lines of sensitive emotion, raw anger, and insane sociopath spot on. You believe right away when you hit play and Will starts telling you the story.
After finishing this book I found out it's to be the first in a trilogy. I'm thrilled. I can't wait to visit these characters again.
This was an interesting read. I was not expecting the story to go where it did. I won't spoil anything, but lets just say there's a really big reveal. It's a bit mind boggling. The main characters are a group of kids. They have a really cool clubhouse in the middle of the woods behind their neighborhood. In this way it reminded me of Stephen King's IT or The Body. The kids are on to something strange going on in their neighborhood. They visit an old professor who doesn't let them in on the secret but asks for their help. They go on an adventure and by the end of the they book find out some pretty crazy things about their world.
I loved how well the author described the clubhouse the kids were always sneaking off to. I could picture it in my mind. It is an awesome clubhouse and reading about it made me think fondly back on the tree house my brothers and I had as kids. The characters do a lot of talking about the odd things going on around them in that clubhouse, and it was a great setting I was happy to visit every time a scene took place there.
I listened to the audiobook version of this story. The narrator Karen Krause was great. Her voice welcomes you into the world of Ravenhill Court. She fit the story well and I think the author made a good choice selecting her to read this book.
This short book was really cool. I would love to see the movie for this one. Think action meets Science Fiction suspense. You've got a bunch of scientists and some military people going into a massive skyscraper. Inside they find not a bunch of offices, but a dense jungle filled with alien vegetation. As they make their way through the first floor they come up against some pretty menacing and creepy stuff.
There were some great moments in this book that were exciting and chilling. It was a fun read and I pictured myself right alongside the characters as they headed out on this strange and terrifying adventure. You only get the beginning of the larger adventure in this book, but there's plenty in there to keep you listening or turning the pages.
I listened to the audiobook version of this story. The narrator has a very pleasant, smooth, and deep voice. It was nice to listen to especially during the narration parts. His reading came off a bit flat for me though. Every character was voiced the same which made it a bit hard at times to distinguish between the characters. It would help to have a more dramatic reading style with more pauses and variation in the speed of the reading to bring this great story across with all of its wonderful flourishes and well constructed prose. You'll like the narrators great voice though and probably won't be as critical as someone like me who narrates audiobooks and listens to them nonstop.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes their sci-fi with a bit of intrigue, adventure, suspense, and a splash of creepy horror that will keep you wanting to read on so you can find out more about the aliens the characters must learn more about.
This was a really fun read. Think of an action thriller mixed with a romantic comedy and you have In Deep Shitake. The characters were awesome and you really come to love and root for them as they stumble through their many misadventures.
This novel was really funny. It had me laughing all the way through. The two main characters and their interesting relationship was a driving force pulling you further into the story as the characters constantly faced more urgent matters. There is a big mystery that gets revealed by the end of the book, and I didn't guess how it would all shake out. There are lots ingredients that come together to make In Deep Shitake great. Humor, action, mystery, romance, and the interesting characters.
I do have to give a content warning. There were a couple of scenes that were too steamy for my tastes so I skipped over them but it was easy to tell what happened in the dialog following those scenes. They had a lot of impact on the story and its characters too. These were not scenes thrown in to shock the readers and they made sense for the story.
I listened to the audiobook version of this novel and the narrator Michael Karl Orenstein did a terrific job. He was great at portraying the different characters with wonderful accents, pitch changes, and inflections. There were a lot of funny characters that showed up all over the book in small scenes and Orenstein came up with perfect voices for all of them. Many times I'm sure I was laughing a lot harder for his spot on delivery and rendering of a character's voice than if I had been reading the eBook or paperback. His acting was superb in all the dialog, and his narrator's voice was smooth and engaging. I would definitely pick up another audiobook narrated by him.
To wrap it up I would recommend this story to anyone who is looking to have a good time reading a novel. It was just what I needed after reading IT by Stephen King. A normal length novel that shows you a really great time. This book had lovable characters with interesting relationships, cool action, a great love story, and a lot of laughs.
This was a great book. Not an easy one to read in some ways, but also not easy to put down. The issues dealt with in this book are pretty heavy. I don't want to spoil anything but lets just say family turmoil. It's not a book you just pick up for some light reading, but it is a page turner.
It's a real intimate story as it unfolds told in first person. It feels like reading the main character Lizzie's diary. I am by no means the target audience for this book, but if a man in his 30s enjoyed it I'm guessing most of you will too. Just be warned the stuff the main character deals with are very intense. The main character is a teen in her high school years. Her life falls apart in many ways, although unlike most little things like a break up with a boyfriend that can shake a teen's world, Lizzie deals with some big scary things.
The characters were very real, especially the main character and viewpoint character Lizzie. You feel like you're peering into her every thought as you read the words she poured out onto the page. I listened to the audiobook of this story and the narrator Maria Hunter Welles was fantastic. Her voice fits the book perfectly. It's amazingly genuine and sounds just as you think it should as you come to know the character and story more. It's like listening to the character sit down in the food court at the mall and spill her guts to you about what's been going on in her life. The narrator was spot on. I'm excited to listen to another one of her audiobooks in the near future.
So in closing, great story. Super tough issues dealt with by very genuine and fleshed out characters you can picture in you mind as you read or listen to the story. Because of its content this story might not be for everyone, but it's done so well I think that almost anyone would appreciate it's depth and bold reach into places most stories about teens and families don't go.
There was some great stuff in this book. Huge sections that were awesome. There was also a lot of disgusting stuff, and for me it was way too long. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator Steven Weber couldn't have done a better job. He was phenomenal. But even with amazing narration and some fantastic storytelling, the story at 45 hours was just too long. I picked this novel up because I heard it was kind of like King's novella "The Body." That's the one the movie Stand By Me is based on and it's easily one of my all-time favorite stories. While there is a group of kids who even have a clubhouse like in The Body. The story is much different though and even though there are a lot of things I like about it, overall I wish I would have spent 45 hours listening to a different book.
As usual King does a great job building characters you feel like you know. Each character is very different and has their own little traits you come to love. With all the time he took to tell this story he fleshes out a whole gang of kids and their enemies. Not only the characters as kids, but as adults too. The people they became, and then going back and forth between their story as kids unfolding and their story as adults going back to the place they were as kids. It was an epic tale, but it could have been so without being so epically long.
I was ready for it to be over long before it was over. Part of that might be because I don't like the darker books where king writes about child abuse and spousal abuse. I can only read so much of that stuff and this book had a bit too much of it for my liking. I was really cheering for the characters until near the end. When the gross scene describing what they did as kids happens. That's when I almost put the book down. Instead I skipped through it and finished the rest of the story. The end after that wasn't terrible. I liked the way the story closed out. You get to relive some of the fun things you remember from earlier in the book. "High Ho Silver! Away!" is what I'll say to hint at that. So in closing, were their great moments? Yes. Did King knock it out of the park building believable breathing characters? Yes that's what he's best at. But in the end the story was just too long and too dark for my liking. I know many other readers feel differently about this one, even claiming it as their favorite King book. The other book people claim to be King's best book is The Stand. I will have to read that one soon. For now I'm on to reading one of his newer novel's called Mr. Mercedes. I've really liked all of Kings recent books and so far I'm liking this one. IT is not one I'd recommend, but you don't have to take my word for it.
Hugh Howey's novel Sand was so good. I really enjoyed it. I liked it as much as I liked his Wool Omnibus and that is saying a lot. This was a very different story than Wool, however. Instead of it being about a few characters and a community of people it was more about a family. The characters are all connected by the isolated places they live but also by blood. It was really cool to learn the family history as you learned about the story world. There were no boring info dumps. Howey skillfully lets you in on the back story as he pushes you through the current story. It was well done.
So the story world is super cool, a world covered in sand kind of like Dune but not really anything like Dune. The characters are cool too - people that have learned how to dive into the sand to bring up treasures from the old world. The coolest thing about his book for me though were the intense situations the characters get in. Early on in the novel the characters go into a very dangerous situation. As I read it I was cringing and leaning forward and needing to do nothing but keep read to find out what was going to happen. From there you get a whole lot more story, meet new characters and generally get the idea of what kind of horrible situation everyone is in. The world of Sand would not be a fun place to live in, but reading what the characters go through is a touching thrilling adventure.
I don't want to give anything away so I'll just end this review by saying that if you love rooting for characters and cringing as you read faster to see if they can get out of crazy situations then read this book. If you like awesome story worlds and really cool new ideas about things characters can do in it that are different from anything we know then read this book. If you want to read something with real characters with fantastically realistic dialog that sounds like living breathing people figuring things out in their dire world than read this book. Lastly if you like finding small sentences sprinkled throughout a novel that describe things, people, and their surroundings and the feelings they're experiencing with exquisite beauty then you should read this book.
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